#405 When someone pronounces your name right on the first try

It ain’t easy.

When I graduated from college they draped us all in slippery black gowns, put square hats on our heads, and sat us down in the hot steamy arena to wait patiently for our names to get called. When they did we got up and swished across the stage to accept little ribbon-tied rolls of paper representing years of early morning classes, all-night study sessions, and months of stressful exams.

I remember they got a fancy-pants professor from the Linguistics Department to read everyone’s name off a sheet of paper. She was mostly aces, too. Ng’s and Png’s couldn’t trip her up cause she’d just ing and ping like it was no big deal. Of course, she butchered a bunch and I’m pretty sure I was Neil Pasta-rike-ah that day.

But you know what: that’s fine, that’s fine, that’s totally fine.

Because we all mess up words all the time. Seeing new names and saying them right is tricky business and not for the faint of heart. I am terrible with names so my only strategy when I see a toughie is saying “Sorry, how… how do you say your name?” Of course, after they tell me I realize I’ll never be able to do it justice so I nod and smile and avoid ever saying it again in my life.

Of course, it’s this constant challenge that makes it so sweet when someone actually nails it on the first try.

If you actually pull it off we say good work, tongue twister.

Today we salute you as a brother or sister.

AWESOME!

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#406 Being slobby in a hotel room

We’re still animals.

Sure, our species has grown up and grown older over the past couple hundred thousand years. We’ve moved out of the jungle and shed most of our body hair, keeping warm with sweatpants and hoodies instead of hairy legs and bushy beards.

But we’re still animals.

We grunt and scratch, we scream and cry, we burp and fart just as much as the next guy. All those shaved legs and haircuts, watches and wardrobes, glasses and grandma panties just can’t cover up our deep n’ dirty roots.

Sure, roommates sweep and Swiffer, boyfriends tidy and touch up, and dads scrub toilets as moms mow the lawn. But sometimes our deepest animal instincts need scratching and we need to feel like we’re back in the jungle, chilling under a big tree trunk with no worries and no problems.

One place that’s great for embracing these filthy roots is in a hotel room. Somehow they manage to tease out the best and worst parts of our animal heritage:

1. These shoes were made for walking. And that’s just what they’ll do. In this hotel room these shoes are walking on the carpet and bathroom.

2. No coasters, no problems. Do you have an Obsessive Coastering friend? One of those folks who jump out of their seat to toss a coaster under anyone’s drink? Wet glass bottoms are their mortal enemies and they may sub jewel cases or pizza flyers in a pinch. Maybe you know that person… or maybe they’re you! But either way: take a break in the Days Inn penthouse and set your warm glass of bathroom tap water straight on the glossy dresser.

3. Using ten towels a day. Back in college my roommate Ryan and I weren’t great at doing laundry. Our rooms had leaning underwear towers and dirty T-shirts balls in the corners while musty bath towels hung like dead fish in the moldy, mildew-smeared bathroom. Whenever one of us piped up with a “Hey, should we head downtown for laundry today?” the other person responded with dead silence and all you’d hear in the room was the frantic clicking of thumbs playing Mario Kart. This is why entering the sinful ten-towels-a-day world of hotels is a nice break once in a while.

4. Eating in bed and falling asleep with the TV on. If you’ve ever woken up on a slippery floral comforter next to a cold half-eaten Pad Thai with a flickering TV in the background showing a steak knife cutting through an aluminum can, then smile because you’re on vacation, baby.

5. Leaving your bed in a twisted pile of sheets and blankets. After fracturing both your ankles trying to untuck all the tightly-packed sheets, there’s just no way it’s ever going back together again.

Little bits of you are from before as atoms from our past swirl and twirl up and down to the ground. Someone gets buried, someone gets born, and over the years we’ve grown up and grown into a more sophisticated society of manners, grace, and tact.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But sometimes it’s just good to go slobby for a while.

Sometimes it’s good to take a break.

AWESOME!

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#407 The Inlaw Nap

The Inlaw Nap is any nap you manage to pull off at the inlaw’s house. As long as it’s not during Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas present unwrapping, or while the birthday cake is served, it is a completely legal nap and fully counts as spending quality time visiting the inlaws.

Whether you skip out on setting the table, ditch helping with the dishes, or just miss a couple hours playing cards with Grandma… it doesn’t matter.

All that matters is you pulled it off.

Yes, you answered a phony cell phone call in the other room for twenty minutes, you snuck into the kid’s fort and fell asleep in the cushion barracks, or you hid on a pile of jackets and scraggly blankets in the spare bedroom.

All that matters is you pulled it off.

All that matters is that you’re

AWESOME!

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#408 Dinosaurs

They ruled Earth for millions of years. With brains the size of peanuts. And tiny, hilarious arms.

AWESOME!

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#409 Kids who dress themselves

It’s the little girl wearing a tutu on the downtown street. It’s the boy in the Superman outfit at McDonald’s. It’s big rainboots on sunny days, mom’s lipstick smeared across faces, and big bright mismatched costumes.

There’s just something so pure and innocent about little kids dressing themselves up for a day on the town. All  grown-up social norms and fashion pretenses just drift away in favor of laughing in the moment and living for the day.

AWESOME!

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#410 Edible dishes

Let’s get tasty.

Save yourself some work, save yourself some time, and let’s gobble up the dishes our food’s packed up in:

• Ice cream cones. Bubble gum ice cream from Baskin Robbins was a staple of my childhood and I’d always get it in a cup to save the chalky pink frozen gum for the end. One day I switched up my game and went wild with a sugar cone instead… and after that there was no looking back. That cone is like three meals in one: ice-cream only appetizer, cream-n-crunch entrée, and a final mini-goblet of bubbly melted dessert. Check please!

• Chili bread bowls. Once in a while a local diner will try plain soup in bread bowls but the wet mess that results from a hot ladle of chicken noodle poured into a stale bun is beyond awful. No, let’s hold hands here today and stick with chili and chowder.

• Frankensteins. Sometimes you go mad scientist and whip up an edible monster. Lightning crashes out the window of your dark kitchen as you cackle and unveil scrambled eggs and bacon wrapped in a pancake or a cold leftover hamburger squirted with ketchup and wrapped in a giant lettuce leaf. Not bad, not bad.

• Edible beer bottles. Okay, maybe these haven’t been invented yet but I think it’s only a matter of time. Sip, sip, crunch, crunch, stay on the couch. Think about it, Doritos.

• That creamy spinach dip in the big brown bread. This is a staple of any snooty party and you’ll score massive yuppie points for bringing it with some stinky cheese or dark salamis. And don’t worry about the nutritional content here because those thin ribbons of spinach stirred into that mayo soup totally take away the guilt, too.

• Almosts. These are foods you don’t always eat from a dish but also don’t really require any dishes. They’re hot-dogs and hamburgers and wraps and burritos. They’re not quite the same as edible dishes … but almost.

• Taco salad in that crazy giant taco bowl. Whoever invented this magically delicious dish deserves some props for making a fat exploded taco sound healthy. Come on, this is just a salad, people. Get some greasy enchiladas and a bowl of deep-fried ice cream to finish off your meal.

When you’re eating off an edible dish the food suddenly becomes  more fun and there are drippy challenges to keep you entertained. Plus, after you’re done you can forget soaping up, scrubbing down, and setting your dishwasher to off-peak hours. Just remember: when you’re eating messy food off edible dishes … you’re digesting love.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, here, here, and here

 

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#411 When your computer heals itself

SYSTEM ERROR.

Sometimes your buzzing box of lights and wires crashes a bad crash and completely stops working. So you reboot, unplug everything, plug everything back in, unplug everything again, plug everything back in again, and finally call in backups in the form of teenage kids or nerdy friends.

Unfortunately, after hammering keyboards and searching for clues for hours you eventually give up and go to bed where thoughts keep running through your worried head: Did I lose my assignment? What about my photos? Will I have to start my Bookmarks from scratch?

That’s why it’s great when the sun breaks through the blinds and you groggily shuffle over to the computer to find a big surprise.

It just suddenly works.

And no one knows why.

AWESOME!

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#412 The air just before a thunderstorm

Warm wind whips and whistles down the streets sending cigarette butts, crumpled receipts, and dry leaves swirling in all directions.  Specks of dust glow in deep sunbeam tints as dark clouds shuffle in the sky. There’s a warm and wet sense of electric anticipation as lightning bolts flash silently in the distance, dogs bark in the background, and everyone races for cover.

You hear the nylon swish of umbrellas popping open, the scrape of plastic chairs dragging across patios, and the adrenaline buzzing before the first big boom.

Here come the jumbo drops.

AWESOME!

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#413 Trying on your new clothes again as soon as you get home from the store

Stiff creases, unhemmed pants, and itchy tags can’t dent your mood.

Now it’s time to change real fast, clear the kitchen runway, and strut your stuff in a private fashion show for your friends, family, and dog.

AWESOME!

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#414 Driving home from a long trip and getting all your radio stations back

Fade to fuzz.

It’s always a sad scene when you’re bumping down the highway and your old faves start fritzing out on the radio. Yes, you wince as songs start missing notes and DJs start garbling the weather…. before eventually just dissolving into the distance. Staring back through your rearview mirror a hot tear slowly drips down your cheek as you watch the orange sun set on your friends from the AM spectrum.

Now when you’re bumping back home it’s the opposite story. You’ve already tried and failed to latch onto new stations in new places. Scanning for new friends, skimming for old beats, you found annoying talk shows, scratchy music, and baseball games with all the wrong teams.

That’s why it’s great when you drive back into your radio station zone. Now clear voices, sharp drums, and familiar tunes float and fly down your antennae to welcome you back with a smile.

AWESOME!

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